Friday, April 26, 2013

Barstow and the Owl Canyon

April 18 - 23, 2013:

I did a solo on the Owl Canyon Trail, was just taking a look, but ended up going about all the way.  In places it narrows down to a slot canyon and there a few spots where you have to rock climb over an 8 ft rock wall to get through.  It's a paradise for geology types, all kinds of interesting and colorful rocks.  Meanwhile back at the ranch, Twinkles was doing her civic duty picking up assorted trash down in the wash near our campsite.  Then some RV maintenance, fixing a broken cord on day/night window shades.  This is the second one to fail and a another is starting to go.  Also putting larger screws in a window Valence that fell off the wall yesterday traveling over the rough roads.  (Don't get me started on the quality workmanship at Keystone RV)

Friday a day into Barstow for laundry, supplies, a UPS pickup, propane refill and Diesel. Barstow's Main Street is classic Rt 66 will lots and lots of old motels, many in disrepair, with great old signs.  The original downtown remains intact but a lot of vacancies and for rent signs. It's kind of strange, really sad, all the business, as usual, has moved out into tacky strip Malls.  They have an excellent historical mural project downtown that I will be exploring soon, but not much else to go there for.  Also there is a Rt 66 museum and a Railroad museum that sound interesting.  Barstow continues to be a major pit stop off Interstate 40, with an exit that leads you to several fast food and unappealing chain restaurants.  They do have the most interesting McDonalds I've seen in old railroad cars and the largest Burger King I have ever seen? It's all kind of rough and dumpy surrounded by beautiful scenery and highly photogenic. 

We had this campground mostly to ourselves until Friday when lots of weekend campers, mostly tent campers, moved in.  We took a ride looking for this fossil bed trail near here.  You turn off the main road at a sign for Fossil Bed Trail, then drive down this rough dirt road which goes on and on with several other unmarked roads to the side.  After a few miles, we decided it must be on one of the unmarked roads.  Of course, any signs that may have been there have since been blasted away by the local yokels.  So, we try one of the roads which gets rough as hell, tight curves, sand, big rocks, with thorny desert vegetation on each side scrapping against the sides as we squeak through and no place to turn around. Then we came upon a turnaround spot and shot into it only to find ourselves in the middle of a tent campers site, luckily they weren't there ! So, I drove right between their bedroll on the ground and their cooking stuff around the campfire and barely squeezed around the corner and back out onto the road.  I would love to see their faces when they get back to the campsite to see these big dually tire tracks right through their site.  Anyhow, we got out of there with only a few scratches, hopefully they will compound out. 

So, then with some apprehension we went on the Rainbow Basin loop road which ended up being beautiful.  The road was wide and graded with a few tight areas but nothing bad.  The views were fantastic in all directions, we parked and did some hiking to a incredible rock canyon, it was great !

Sunday, another solo day for me.  We are finding that when boondocking, you are not getting much, if any, outside social interaction and you need to have some apart time to avoid bloodshed. Only kidding, all is well !  So I went to the city of Barstow to check out the downtown murals, the McDonald train car dining, visit the Route 66 museum and the Railroad Museum.  The McDonalds is crazy with huge tour busses and hundreds of people, but inside it's more of a food court with several food vendors and tacky souvenir shops.  The dining area is shared by all and is in old railroad cars, but the interiors are not nice, kind of dumpy.  The Route 66 museum and the Railroad museum are both located in the old Southern Pacific Railroad Depot which is known as the "Casa del Desierto".  It is one of the classic "Harvey House Hotels" that barely escaped the wrecking ball, but is now saved, as a historic landmark and restored.  The museums were both great but it was somewhat sad looking at the old photos of downtown Barstow.  The downtown in it's route 66 heyday was a happening place, full of nice hotels, restaurants, stores and people. The Southern Pacific Railroad is still big in Barstow, huge freight traffic rolling through and huge yard, but there does not appear to be a shop anymore. 

Twinkles and I did the full Owl Canyon Trail Monday morning, 4 miles with lots of rocks to climb over that were a bit of a challenge.  The views were worth it, absolutely incredible rock formations and colors.  On the way back as I started to come around a bend in the trail I heard a loud rattle noise, that luckily stopped me in my tracks.  It happened to be a healthy Mojave Rattlesnake who eyed us up, then backed off climbing up the canyon wall away from us.  We slithered by quickly !  

On Wednesday we are pulling out of Owl Canyon and heading for Mojave, California to the Sierra Trails RV Park.  We are looking forward to a full hookup site for a week, it's been a while. In fact since Feb 10th we have boondocked on BLM areas for (66) days with the exception of (5) nights of dry camping in campgrounds (No hookups) and (3) nights with full hookup at Agua Caliente Park.  We are starting to feel like desert rats !

More to be revealed latter !
Twinkles and Slick

A hawk Mouth on a Prince's Plume flower

Prince's Plume flower at Owl Canyon Trail

View from the Owl Canyon Trail

View from the Owl Canyon Trail

Twinkles resting after climb at Rainbow Basin

Our RV is down there, can you find it

Ridge Trail at Owl Canyon

McDonalds in Barstow

Mural in Barstow

Mural in Barstow

Mural in Barstow

Route 66 mural
Route 66 mural
The Hotel  El RANCHO in Barstow
Barstow Amtrak station - Casa del Desierto
The classic "Casa del Desierto" in Barstow
This guy must have collected all the old signs and saved them
Mojave Rattlesnake in Owl Canyon
Maraposa Lilly
Owl Canyon Trail view
Owl Canyon Trail
Trail at Rainbow Basin
Rainbow Basin loop road view

Front of an old Dodge mounted on a machine for power

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